Earthjustice Files Petition to Protect Maryland Residents from Misleading Gas Advertising
Today, Earthjustice submitted a brief on behalf of Sierra Club responding to the Maryland Public Service Commission, Washington Gas Light Company, and WGL Energy Services arguing that WGL provided false information to customers about the environmental impacts of fossil gas.
WGL has repeatedly included misleading claims in its bills to customers about the benefits of using gas. These claims include:
- Gas is clean energy.
- Converting an all electric home to gas is the equivalent of planting 2.75 acres of trees or driving 26,520 fewer miles each year.
- Gas costs one third less than electric.
Previously, the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel (MDOPC) filed a complaint with The Maryland Public Service Commission asking that the Commission order WGL to stop including these statements in customers' bills, and impose a penalty on WGL. Earthjustice filed a response in support of this complaint on behalf of Sierra Club.
The Commission dismissed the complaint, stating that the claims did not violate the law and accepted WGL’s ever-changing explanation for the statements. Both MDOPC and Earthjustice appealed the Commission’s decision.
“It’s remarkable that the Public Service Commission stated in its brief that they have no interest in investigating Washington Gas Light’s misleading customer bill statement,” said Susan Stevens Miller, senior attorney at Earthjustice. ”The Commission is clearly not interested in protecting residential ratepayers from receiving false and misleading information and it is failing to fulfill its obligation to protect ratepayers.”
The oral argument for the petition will be held on November 3.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.